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Gymnastics icon Mary Lou Retton ‘fighting for her life’ as she battles pneumonia, daughter says


American sports legend Mary Lou Retton, who captured the attention of the nation when she won the all-around women’s gymnastics competition at the 1984 Summer Olympics, has been hospitalized, according to a statement from her daughter.

Retton is “fighting for her life” as she battles pneumonia in an intensive care unit, McKenna Lane Kelley said this week. 

Kelley’s Instagram post also noted that Retton “is not able to breathe on her own.”

Kelley’s statement did not provide more specific information on her mother’s condition, but she did say that the pneumonia was “a very rare form.”

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(L-R) Ecaterina Szabo, Mary Lou Retton and Simona Pauca at the women’s gymnastics medal ceremony at Pauley Pavilion at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles Aug. 1, 1984. (Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images)

The West Virginia native’s win at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles marked the first time in history an American woman earned the all-around gold medal or any individual Olympic medal in gymnastics.

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She appeared in several films and television shows in the 1980s and 1990s.

Mary Lou Retton performs

United States gymnast Mary Lou Retton performs during the 1980s. (Robert Riger/Getty Images)

Retton, 55, won five medals in the 1984 Games, including two silver medals for team and vault and two bronze medals in the uneven bars and floor exercise.

Mary Lou Retton looks on during a competition

Mary Lou Retton, an Olympic gold medalist in women’s gymnastics, during the 2009 Tyson American Cup at the Sears Centre Feb. 21, 2009, in Hoffman Estates, Ill.  (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

For 20 years, Retton held the distinction of being the only American woman to win the all-around title. In 2004, Carly Patterson became the second woman from the U.S. to accomplish the feat.

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After she retired from gymnastics, Retton became a motivational speaker and frequently shared messages about the benefit of proper nutrition and exercise. She also served on the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports under former President George W. Bush.

Fox News Digital contacted McKenna Lane Kelley and Mary Lou Retton’s representatives for more information but had not heard back before publication.



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